It's my first time on another continent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by nikvuksa, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2018
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Serbia
    Some numbers about our journey:

    * 2 motorcycles (Yamaha TDM 900 and Suzuki V-STROM DL 650);
    * 2 continents (Europe, Asia);
    * 4 participants (Nikola (me) and Julijana (my wife) on TDM and Aleksandar and Ivana on STROM);
    * 4 different countries (Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece);
    * 5,3 litres average consumption;
    * 6 months of planning of route (decembar 2017 – may 2018);
    * 9 different cities for sleepover (Plovdiv, Istanbul, Ankara, Goreme, Antalija, Kusadasi, Canakkale, Kavala, Sofia);
    * 16 days totally on journey;
    * 22 years of mutual friendship;
    * 30 kg of luggage per truck;
    * ~ 230 liters of gasoline;
    * 300 turkish lira's for unplanned maintenance in Turkey;
    * 420 kilometers average per day;
    * ~ 4400 total kilometres;
    * countless number of photos, videos and memories from trip...
    #1
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  2. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2018
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Serbia
    Cephalonia, Greece, september 2017.

    For four of us, it's second year that we are on mutual vacation. While we were exploring an island we were thinking that we should find better way to spend 10-15 days of holiday next summer, 2018. We need more relaxation definitely. Ivana's got an idea..."we should take all inclusive hotel for few days, plus to go with motorcycles and to explore..." Sounds nice...

    We made deal very fast. Decided to go next year to hotel in Antalya, and to visit Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Efes, Troy etc...

    But, there is always but...
    In that moment, Aleksandar doesn't have motorcycle, he sold Aprilia Atlantic 500, but after Cephalonia he is planning to buy Suzuki VStrom 650. And he did, he bought after vacation great VStrom 650, 2008.
    From other side, I had in that moment also Aprilia Atlantic 500, but I want to sell it in December and planning to buy Yamaha TDM 900.


    Cacak, Serbia, december 2017.

    Begin of december, and we agreed whole route and booked all accommodation. In that moment, I didn't sell Atlantic and didn't buy TDM...but...


    Cacak, Serbia, january 2018.

    13.01.2018. I bought my TDM 900. :-) It was imported from CH, 2003. production year, in very good condition, but "naked". It doesn't have anything from stuff I wanted to have...
    So in next few months, I bought, rear tyre, did some maintenance, crash bars, new saddle, racks for side cases etc. So after few months, Tedy (his new name) looked like this.

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    #2
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  3. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    In next period, we started with more and more detailed planning. Routing, sightseeing, how many kilometres per day, gps coordinates, etc...
    We decided to make tshirts and stickers, so my brother helped me with design of it. He made it looks very cool and nice, so we were very satisfied. During our trip many people wanted our sticker so we got a lot of good comments for it.
    Thanks bro! :-)

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    All maintenance, services and checking has been done on time, so everything was ready, already 45 days before start. We started countdown till our first seriously moto adventure. :clap

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    #3
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  4. WesF

    WesF Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    KC
    I look forward to the rest of your ride report.
    #4
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  5. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    1st day, 01.06.2018.

    Planned route for 1st day: Cacak Serbia - Plovdiv Bulgaria. About 520 km.

    Of course, we got up earlier than we should. Once again, doing our check list. Everything was successfully packed in Givi e360 40l side cases, top case Kappa K53, 53l and tank bag bought in Louis, about 25l.

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    As we got up earlier than we planned, we have plenty of time for peaceful coffee and breakfast. Starting our trip from same bakery and coffee shop like last year (kind a symbol of good things will happen), when we were riding Aprilia Atlantic 500 on way to Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro.

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    #5
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  6. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Unfortunatelly, till Plovdiv 90% is highway , but we knew that, and we went by highway so we could go as fast as possible and as much as closer to Istanbul, our first bigger target place. On Serbian - Bulgarian border not so much traffic, so in less than half an hour we were officially in Bulgaria.

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    First gas station in Bulgaria we were tanking as fuel is cheaper than in Serbia. From border to Plovdiv, we had only 220 km. In few hours we arrived to our sleepover for that day. It is complex of buildings with guards and yard. We were very satisfied with apartment. :-)
    We wanted to pay to guard for extra protection of our bikes, but he refused money, didn't want to take it.

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    #6
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  7. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Refreshing, showering and started with exploring of Plovdiv. Pedestrian street leads us direct to center of city which we liked a lot. Before trip, we all agreed that we won't have lunch during day, only breakfast and after arrive to accommodation will have dinner or lunch, whatever. Lack of power during day we will compensate with Red Bull or some snacks...

    We had dinner in "Be Happy" restaurant. Very nice dinner, bulgarian cuisine and some traditional meals, hamgurgers, salads, etc. But on the end, we decided to try "sushi". I am not fan of fish, especially raw fish. Someone liked it, I didn't. :D

    Meanwhile in apartment, few beers were waiting us, for better sleeping. Tomorrow, Istanbul is waiting for us.... :clap

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    #7
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  8. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    2nd day, 02.06.2018.

    Planned route for 2nd day: Plovdiv Bulgaria - Istanbul Turkey. About 430 km.

    Getting up early that morning, before 07am. Breakfast, packing and hit the road. Till Plovdiv highway was in great condition, but from Plovdiv one part on way to Burgas is a lil bit worse. But then, you turn right to Svilengrad and Istanbul were is road in perfect condition, so very fast we are on Bulgarian border.

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    Bulgarian side we passed very fast, so coming on second largest border crossing on the world (the biggest is the Mexico-USA border). With a lil bit of understanding from side of car drivers and a lil bit of luck, we are passing part of traffic. Take small brake to take some photos. :-)

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    #8
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  9. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    #9
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  10. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    From border till Istanbul we have about 260 km. We had two options, highway or national road till Istanbul. We decided again for highway, because we wanted to arrive to Istanbul as soon as possible, as we had only that and next day for sightseeing of huge historical city on Bosphorus.

    For legally ride on highways in Turkey you should buy HGS (sticker that you put on your visor). We paid only 10 eur of credit on HGS as we don't plan to ride on highways almost at all. Before first pay toll you will see big white building from another side of road. So, you park motorcycle on your side and by foot go across of road to take and buy HGS.

    Sometimes earlier, on our serbian motocycle community, https://forum.bjbikers.com/ , I read about strong side wind from Edirne to Istanbul, so I expected it, but side wind that day...wow...never felt it so strong till that day. Blowing from one to other side, making riding very unconfortable for couple of hundred kilometres, plus it increased fuel consumption.

    Anyway, highway is very good quality, which we will see later when we went deeper inside of Turkey.
    #10
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  11. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    About 50-60km from our hotel, we got stuck in traffic. That is one of synonyms of Istanbul, so we expected traffic, a lot of traffic...

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    #11
  12. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    But, after few minutes, it supposed to be only maintenance of road, so traffic was because of that. Very fast, without some bigger delays we have arrived to hotel in Istanbul, between Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar) and Gulhane Park.
    All 4 of us, few months earlier bought bluetooth communications, so it is much easier to communicate with Aleksandar and to navigate.

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    #12
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  13. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    As soon as possible, we are leaving hotel and going to explore as much as possible of Istanbul in day and a half. First, going to Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest market in the world. It has more than 4000 stores in about 60 streets. You may find everything that you want there.

    Merchants have knowledge of many phrases on many languages, so when they here your language, they start speaking "how are you", "good day", "you are pretty"...a lot of phrases to aproach you to their store. :D In their culture is to negotiate about price, but if you start, you be better sure you want to buy it for less price. As, if they reduce price and you declain purchase...it is insulting for them...

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    #13
  14. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    #14
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  15. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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  16. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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  17. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    After Grand Bazaar, we went to magnificent Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque. Whole park is full of people who looks like planning to have a picnic after sunset. It is "ramadan" period, so muslim people don't eat and drink during day light. We got few advices that we should eat asap, as later will be big crowd on street and restaurants. We had "doner kebap" and only juice, as beer is almost impossible to find or it is too much expensive...

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    #17
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  18. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    Ivana is main in charge for organization for turism. She is Bachelor of Tourism so trips like this are her profession and obsession. :-)

    After we saw the most famous symbols of Istanbul, we went to city suburb "Ortakoy", next to Bosphorus, and 1st bosphorus bridge. To Ortakoy we went by tram and bus. Tickets for transportation in Istanbul are very easy to buy and use. Also it's not expensive at all...about 0.5 eur is one "ride" where ever you go, and what ever kind of transportaion you take. Also, need to say that generally all turskih people are very hospitality, very generous and friendly. In case they don't understand you, don't know english language, they will still try to explain you whatever it takes, or find someone who will explane you what you needed. :thumb

    We were crossing through Besiktas suburb, which is famous about football club. We arrived in sunset, taking great photos of bridge and mosque. That evening we had "kumpir" for dinner and turkish tea. Kumpir is big baked potato, filled with 10-15 salads...what ever you choose.

    We spent couple of hours there, enjoy in atmosphere.
    #18
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  19. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    #19
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  20. nikvuksa

    nikvuksa Adventurer

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    For end of day, we went in one of oldest and famous pastry shop of turkish delights, name "Osmanlizadeler", where we ate "baklava" and "lokum"... mmm :yum

    You will notice by photos that is very hard what type to take...
    #20
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